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Your Life Is A Transmedia Experience
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Your Life Is A Transmedia Experience

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“Transmedia” has become the new buzzword for multi-platform narratives, but in the digital age, transmedia isn’t just how we consume entertainment narratives, it’s how we experience the narrative of ...

“Transmedia” has become the new buzzword for multi-platform narratives, but in the digital age, transmedia isn’t just how we consume entertainment narratives, it’s how we experience the narrative of our lives.

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  • 1. A prior version of this presentation was created for a panel event at the FutureM conference in Boston on October 7th,YOUR 2010, featuring Jenka Gurfinkel, Marta Kagan, & Jan Libby.LIFE IS ATRANSMEDIAEXPERIENCE
  • 2. “Transmedia”?
  • 3. “ Transmedia is a fancy word for a simple concept: telling stories across multiple platforms.” —Tim Kring, creator, “Heroes”
  • 4. FOR EXAMPLE:
  • 5. CastleThe ABC show, Castle, follows fictional mystery writerRichard Caste, and his unlikely partner and literary muse,NYPD detective, Kate Beckett, as they solve Manhattanmurders. Castle’s novel, Heat Wave – named for itsprotagonist, NYPD detective Nikki Heat – was pennedduring the show’s first season, and released both as aplot point in the course of the show’s story arc…
  • 6. …And, simultaneously, as a real-life book published by Hyperion. The hardcover even made it onto the New York Times Bestseller list! The author? Richard Castle, of course. Naked Heat, the second installment in the Nikki Heat series, written during Castle’s summer in the Hamptons (aka the show’s second season hiatus), was released in September 2010.Photo: Fannish on Flickr
  • 7. When characters from the hit AMC show Mad Men, first appeared onMad Twitter and began interacting with fans and one another, these unauthorized, fan-created profiles sparked major controversy with the network. But AMC quickly recognized the value in allowing its most iconicMen characters to live, breathe, and tweet, alongside the show’s fans. Now, character Twitter accounts are quickly becoming a natural standard for character-driven entertainment. Or here…
  • 8. TrueBloodThe premise behindHBO’s True Blood isthat the invention ofa synthetic-blood drinkhas allowed vampiresto “come out of thecoffin,” and live openlyamong humans. Topromote the seriespremiere, ads for thenew Tru:Blood beveragebrand began popping upin billboards andmagazines all over thecountry, bringing a keypart of show’s fantasticalstory into reality. Photo: iMalkah on Flickr
  • 9. During True Blood’s thirdseason, the show’sMillennial vampire evenstarted her own blog,babyvamp-jessica.com,where she posts text andvideo updates on thelatest goings-on in her“life”, undead lifestyleadvice, and the generalmeandering thoughts ofyour typical, newlyimmortal 17-year old girl.
  • 10. BUTIT’SNOTJUSTHAPPENING INENTERTAINMENT….
  • 11. Burger KingWhen Burger King revamped TheKing character as a sarcasticmischief-maker he became morethan just a brand mascot. The KingHalloween masks sold out the firstyear they were available. Someeven ended up auctioned off oneBay for hundreds of dollars. TheKing has since appeared as a handpuppet, a Simpsons character –complete with four fingers, yellowskin, and an overbite – and evenbecome an avatar in his own Xboxvideogame. YouTube Videoscreated by and starring fansdressed as The King (masks, andall), engaged in the eternal battlewith Ronald McDonald, have beenviewed millions of times.
  • 12. KnorrTo help tell the story of Knorr’s Sidekicks brandmeal accompaniments, they created an adorablelittle character named Salty. This sadface saltshakeris constantly getting left out because Sidekicks are25% reduced sodium. But while Salty can nevercatch a break, Knorr sure has. Salty’s fans onFacebook and Twitter have helped sell out 18,000real-life Salty toys and used them to create theirown videos and photo-shoots with Salty as thestar. The melancholy saltshaker has helpedSidekicks sales go up 10%, and led Knorr tobecome the category leader.
  • 13. Old SpiceWhat began as a Super Bowl ad featuring ahilariously suave caricature of, literally, The ManYour Man Could Smell Like, became a bona fidepop culture sensation. The campaign’s narrativeevolved into 186 personalized, real-time videoresponses from the Old Spice Guy to hisTwitter fans. He even made animpromptu appearance in theflesh at the San Diego ComicCon. By the end of thesummer, Old Spice hadbecome the all-timemost-viewed sponsoredchannel on YouTube, anddoubled their sales.
  • 14. SO,THAT’SCOOL,ANDALL…
  • 15. BUTIS ITREALLYALLTHATNEW?
  • 16. “ The marvels of communication technology in the present have produced a false consciousness about the past—even a sense that communication has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days of television and the Internet.” - Robert Darnton, historian
  • 17. 17,000 YEARS AGO…Lascaux Cave in Frances Dordogne River Valley containsarguably the worlds most incredible array of Upper Paleolithicart. Prehistoric artists created some 600 depictions of bulls andother animals on the cave’s calcite walls, around 15,000 BC. Theearliest known Egyptian Hieroglyphics would not appear untilmore than 12,000 years later. Some theories about Lascauxargue that the painting is a narrative, describing an event thattook place in life or in a dream.Photo: National Geographic
  • 18. THEORIGINALMASSMEDIA…Most ancient cultures saw picturesin the stars of the night sky. Theearliest known efforts to cataloguethe stars date back roughly 6,000years. By the 5th century B.C., mostof the constellations had come tobe associated with myths. To theAncient Greeks, the constellationswere characters from theirmythology, placed among the starsas a reward from the gods.
  • 19. THE And involved every medium we’ve had available.WEATHERCHANNELLikewise, the Ancient Greeks heardthunder and believed it to beZeus’s thunderbolt. They might nothave had TV, or the Internet, butthey had weather, an incrediblyeffective and dynamic medium forspinning stories. (Weatherforecasters are still doing it today).
  • 20. ANYTHINGCANBEAMEDIUMIn 1996, the Bongo Javacoffee-house in Nashville,Tennessee became worldfamous for the “Nun Bun,” acinnamon pastry discoveredthere, bearing an uncannyresemblance to Mother Teresa.
  • 21. Indeed, starch-based mediaare a recurring favorite. A recentepisode of the Fox show, Glee,centered around a character cookingup a prayer-fulfilling “Grilled Cheesus”sandwich on his George Foreman Grill.
  • 22. THEGREATESTTRANSMEDIASHOWONEARTHReligion is arguably the most successfultransmedia narrative there is, with books,weekly interactive events, annualtheatrical spectacles, superherocharacters, jewelry, movies, and muchmore. There’s even an afterlife!
  • 23. OURBRAINSAREWIREDFORNARRATIVECONSTRUCTIONWhen it comes to the way we appreciatenarratives, our brains don’t segregate media..
  • 24. ANDOUR LIVESARE FILLEDWITH STORIESTHAT TRAVELACROSS MEDIA *
  • 25. ANDOUR LIVESARE FILLEDWITH STORIESTHAT TRAVELACROSS MEDIA* (WHETHER * THEY ARE DELIBERATELY DESIGNED TO, OR NOT).
  • 26. This was the myspace.com homepage on October1st, 2010, the day The Social Network came out.
  • 27. That week, Vanity Fair postedan annotated guide to everyreal-life Harvard Crimsonstudent newspaper articlementioned in the movie….
  • 28. These articles can stillbe found on the HarvardCrimson website. They notonly document key eventsin Mark Zuckerberg’s brief buteventful college career, theyalso serve as instrumentaldevices in the film’s plotline, aswell as that of The AccidentalBillionaires, the book on whichthe movie is based.
  • 29. And then there is the actual creation at the heart of The SocialNetwork, a website which more than 500 million of us personallyinteract with; which now accounts for one out of every fourpageviews in the U.S. — that’s 10% of all Internet visits.Photo: Tully Wully Chully Mully on Flickr
  • 30. The creation myth of Facebook may have become a transmedia story, but so, too,is what we create with it every day.
  • 31. Photo: etchasketchist on Flickr“ We want to present ourselves to other people the way we would like to have [them] perceive us.” - Robert Scoble, tech blogger
  • 32. “ It’s kind of a hyper- real version of yourself.” —Trent Reznor, rocker
  • 33. WITHEVERYPHOTOUPLOAD….
  • 34. STATUSUPDATE…Photo: JayB.Stevens2010 on Flickr
  • 35. CHECK-IN…Photo: DinanM3atl on Flickr
  • 36. AND“LIKE”Photo: emerille on Flickr
  • 37. TRANSMEDIA ISN’T JUSTHOW WE EXPERIENCEENTERTAINMENT…
  • 38. OR BRAND NARRATIVES…
  • 39. IT’SHOWWEEXPERIENCETHESTORYOFOURLIVES.Photo: emerille on Flickr
  • 40. Social-Creature is the brainchild of Jenka Gurfinkel, awriter, former music festival producer, and retired circusmanager – now a digital and transmedia strategist.jenka@social-creature.com